Erstwhile is about the continuous overlapping of family trees in the monarchies of England & Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Vast intermarriage caused families & cultures to be ceaselessly intertwined & entangled. Elements that are culturally identifiable influence line, shape & surface.
Born from a love of travel and history and time spent living in Scotland, Erstwhile explores tradition and modern opinion. The elements of tartan, British tailoring, traditional Russian clothing and the Orthodox Russian dome are representative of the history of King George V of Britain and Tsar Nicholas II that inspired the collection. In appearance, one could think them twins and this brought about the idea of “twinning” elements of either culture in a bricolage of pattern and shape. The immense overlapping of their family trees is like a tartan pattern in and of itself. This element of chaotic play in feminine garments allegorically shows how the monarchy, a placid element of society, is constantly struggling against the churning culture of their people.
Materials in this collection are traditional and specific. Wool twill tartans from Scotland as well as cotton voile Liberty prints from England were the jumping off point for further selections. Wools of other weights and surfaces are used in conjunction with silks of varying weight and luster. Natural animal yarns for knits are modernized with spinning techniques and the incorporation of silk thread.
The concept of an overlapping grid was most essential to my process. From this came the overlapping collars, layers of pleats and tucks and fabric dimension.